T.S. Eliot: "The Naming of Cats"
- from "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats"
The naming of cats is a difficult matter.
It isn't just one of your holiday games.
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have three different names.
First of all, there is the name that the family use daily
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey-
All of them sensible, everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter-
But all of them sensible, everyday names.
But I tell you a cat needs a name that's particular
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum
Such as Muskustrap, Quaxo or Coricopat
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover
But the cat himself knows, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name
His ineffable, effable, effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular name.